The Culture 24/7: Science and Nature picks for July

By Culture24 Reporter | 12 July 2011
A photo of a statue of a cosmonaut
A permanent tribute to Yuri Gagarin will be unveiled in the centre of London this month
© Andrea Rose
London: Adventures in Space
Science Museum
, July 13
This month is momentous for marking the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s heroic space flight – so much so that it’s been deemed the UK Russia Year of Space 2011.

There are few better poised to provide insights into Gagarin’s choice of career than Sergei Krikalev, a cosmonaut and Head of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Centre, who will be joined by crewmate Helen Sharman – the first Briton in space, no less – to share stories of intergalactic missions and record breaking stays aboard space stations here.

Email for an email ticket. Those without confirmations may be admitted subject to space.

London: Yuri Gagarin Statue
The Mall, opens July 14

Some argue that formal British recognition of Yuri Gagarin’s achievement is well overdue, but the plan for his statue on The Mall – copied from one made in 1984 for the Russian town where he trained – is ambitious.

A year of Anglo-Russian alliances in education, languages and the arts are taking place around it, and the piece itself, within runway distance of Trafalgar Square, should be well worth seeing. Gagarin’s daughter, Elena Gagarina, will unveil it.

Leicester: Lego City
National Space Centre
– launch weekend July 16-17, continues until September 4
Drown in multicoloured plastic bricks as the National Space Centre celebrates ten years in the making with a deluge from the 80-year-old Danish institution (Lego is an abbreviation of two Danish words – leg godt – meaning “play well”, in case you were wondering.)

The launch weekend looks particularly fun, but there are all sorts of activities across a summer full of workshops and displays, with prizes up for grabs including space shuttles and moon buggies.

Newcastle: On the Shoulders of Giants
Life Science Centre
, from July 22
Planners at Life say they want to max out the region’s largest planetarium, which means a skilfully-conceived animation between a little-and-large pairing to illustrate the magic of the planets, voiced by an in-house team and illustrated by Edinburgh artist Carmen Moran.

A treat for young imaginations and their accompanying cinema-goers.

Cardiff: Colourful Chemistry and Summer Nights
, from July 23
Techniquest’s Science Theatre is the place for a Royal Society of Chemistry supported stage show demonstrating colour changes in chemical reaction, energy and light.

The Planetarium hosts a 30-pminute tour of the seen and unseen in the balmy night sky, giving a closer look at constellations, planets, distant galaxies and the birth and death of stars.

Falmouth: Pole to Pole
National Maritime Museum Cornwall
, July 25-29
Take a look at the Penguins and Arctic heroes of the National Maritime Museum’s courageous On Thin Ice ode to some of mankind’s greatest explorers, then make magnificent penguin masks, snow goggles your Inuit forefathers would have been proud of and panoramic Polar pictures.

All the activities are free with museum admission.

Whitehaven: Family Dino-Crafts
The Beacon
, July 25-31
A spin-off exhibition of the BBC’s towering Walking with Dinosaurs is the summer show at The Beacon.

Kids can grab a special Activity Pass granting them access to the exhibition as well as a dino-based activity and a toy in a series of one-hour sessions. This week’s theme is Fossils in the Sand.
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